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ENCE 361
Soil Mechanics

Boussinesq and Westergaard Stresses

Stress Distribution in Soils


Foundations and structures placed on the
surface of the earth will produce stresses in
the soil
These stresses will decrease with the distance
from the load
How these stresses decrease depends upon the
nature of the soil bearing the load

Distribution Theories
Boussinesq
 Homogeneous, isotropic material (but modulus of
elasticity and Poisson's Ratio not required)
 Semi-infinite solid
 Original equations describe loading at a point; can
be applied to various foundation shapes

Westergaard
 Similar to Boussinesq, but no lateral deformations
of the soil are assumed
 Used with soils of alternating layers of materials

General Notes on Stresses


Only the additional vertical stresses v are
generally considered. Although the soil is
considered elastic, in reality the elasticity is
not enough for the other stresses (horizontal)
to be considered meaningful
Most textbook charts only consider stresses
directly below the centre of the load
Avoid use of NAVFAC DM 7.01, Chapter 4,
Table 2 for computation of stresses (errors are
present)

Stress
Distributions

Boussinesq Point Load


Equation for Vertical Stress

  v

3
3
QZ
2
r Z 
2

Q
I

5
2 b
Z
2

Equation for Vertical Stress Factor

3
I b
2
5
r
2   1 2
Z

Illustration 9-3
Given
 Point Load, 45 kN
 Point 3 m directly below the point load

Find
 Additional Vertical Stress Created by Point Load
(overburden stresses not considered)

Solution
 Compute Ir = 3/((2)()(02+1)5/2) = 0.477
 Compute v = (45)(0.477)/32 =

2.385 kN

Chart Solutions
Traditionally, the standard method of solving
Boussinesq and Westergaard Equations for
vertical stresses
Charts in textbook only apply to loads
directly under the centre of the load
Charts in NAVFAC DM 7.01 apply to loads
at various points under a foundation and are
more general

Boussinesq
Solution
Rectangular
Area, Corner
Stress

Boussinesq
Solution
Circular Area

Illustration 9-5
Given
 Square Foundation, 2 m x 2 m
 Loading of 500 kN
 Uniform, homogeneous soil

Find
 Stress increase 2 m directly below the centre of the
foundation using the textbook chart
 Stress increase 2m below the corner of the
foundation using NAVFAC DM 7.01 Chart

Illustration 9-5
Centre Loading: Textbook Chart
 Compute foundation pressure = 500/((2)(2)) = 125
kPa
 Compute Z/B = 2/2 = 1.0
 Read Ib from chart = 0.34
 Compute v = (0.34)(125) = 42.5 kPa

Illustration 9-5
Edge Loading,
NAVFAC Chart





Compute foundation
pressure =
500/((2)(2)) = 125
kPa
Compute m = x/Z =
1 (n = y/Z = 1 same
for square
foundation)
Read Ip from chart =
0.18
Compute v = Ipq
(0.18)(125) = 22.5
kPa

Illustration 9-5
Using NAVFAC Chart to Compute
Foundation Loads at places other than corners
 NAVFAC chart computes stress for corner load
 Divide foundation into four sections
 Compute stress from one section at corner
 Assume four corners meet at centre; quadruple
stresses of divided sections to arrive at centre
stress

Corner Load Superposition

Illustration 9-5
Combined Corner
Loading, NAVFAC
Chart






Compute foundation
pressure = q =
500/((2)(2)) = 125
kPa
Compute m = x/Z =
0.5, n = y/Z = 0.5
Read Ip from chart =
0.085
Compute v = Ipq
(0.085)(125)(4) =
42.5 kPa

Westergaard Point Load


Equation for Vertical Stress

  v

Q
2

r
Z 12  
Z
2

Q
I

3
2 w
Z
2

Equation for Vertical Stress Factor

1
I w
2
3
r
2  1 2
Z

Illustration 9-4
Given
 Point load of 10,000 lbs.
 Point at depth of 10' from soil surface and 10' from
centre axis of load

Find
 Stress increase due to applied load

Solution
 Iw = 1/(3.1416(1+2(10/10)2)3/2) = 0.061
 v = (0.061)(10000)/(102) = 6.1 psf

60 Degree Loading
Q
  v
 Bz Lz

An alternate method used for


preliminary determination of stresses

Soil Layers Having Different


Properties
Soils with different layers will influence the
distribution of stresses depending upon their
thicknesses and relative stiffnesses
A stiffer layer on top will tend to redistribute
the stresses and thus lower them for a softer
layer below
A soft layer on top may in fact induce stresses
greater than those seen in a homogeneous layer

Illustration 9-7
Given
 Circular storage tank, 10 m in diameter
 Tank pressure at surface is 15 kPa
 5 m thick stiff clay overlays medium soft clay

Find
 Resulting stress 7.5 m below the surface and the
centre of the tank

Illustration 9-7
Solution
 H = radius = 5 m
 Z/H = 7.5/5 = 1.5
 k = E1/E2 = 10
 From chart, I =
0.2
 Stress =
(0.2)(15) = 3 kPa

Change in Grade
Changes in grade have similar effects to those
of actual foundations
Addition of fill is similar in effect to adding a
foundation above the existing soil. This can
be varied in shape
Excavation that is not filled can be treated as a
negative foundation, whose stresses can be
subtracted from the final additional stresses

Embankment Example

Embankment
Example
Compute the basic overburden loading of the
embankment at its maximum elevation: p =
(120 pcf)(20') = 2400 psf = 2.4 ksf = 1.2 tsf
Depths to consider: 5', 10', 20', 30', 40', 60',
80', and 100'
Consider that embankment is axisymmetric
about its centre; solution can be performed
using the superposition of two
embankments back to back

Use chart to the


right to compute
loads due to two
half
embankments for
various distances
under the centre of
the embankment

Embankment
Example

Embankment Chart

For z=5':
 a/Z = 50/5 =
10
 b/Z = 20/5 =4
 Since largest
line is 3, Iz =
0.5
 2Iz = (2)(.5) =
1
 z = (1)(1.2)
= 1.2 tsf

Embankment Example

Superposition
Loads created by overburden, additional fill,
foundations, can and will be superposed to
compute total vertical stresses in soils
Superposition can also take place with
multiple foundations or foundation elements
with close proximity to each other

Column Loading Example

Determine applied stress under Column B2

Column Loading Example


NAVFAC Solution
 Assumes columns can be modelled as circular
foundations rather than square ones
 Computes equivalent radius to have the same area
as the square columns = (9/3.1416)1/2 = 1.693'
 Groups columns according to their distance from
the centre (where the desired load is to be
computed)




15' radius: A2, B1, B3, C2


21.21' radius: A1, A3, C1, C3
0' radius: B2

Circular
Loading
Chart

Column Loading Example

Column Loading Example


Alternate Solution use similar assumptions
to NAVFAC solution, but assume columns
act as point loads

Column Loading Example


Z, ft
.r, ft.

I1

I2

I3

0
0.48
0.48
0.48
0.48
0.48
0.48
0.48

2
4
6
10
15
20
25

Sum of I Point Stress Circular Stress

15
0
0
0
0.03
0.08
0.16
0.22

21.21
0
0
0
0.01
0.03
0.07
0.12

0.48
0.48
0.48
0.51
0.59
0.71
0.82

3.22
0.81
0.36
0.14
0.07
0.05
0.04

4
3.5

Stress, tsf

3
2.5
2
1.5
1
0.5
0
0

10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25

Z, ft

1.72
0.66
0.33
0.15
0.11
0.11
0.06

Questions